Liver transplantation is an operation that removes your liver and replaces it with a healthy donor liver.
If you have removed part of the liver, we have other information. Your doctor may call this a resection of the liver or a lobectomy.
You may have a liver transplant if you have:
Tumor with a maximum diameter of 5 cm
- A tumor 5 to 7 cm in diameter that has not grown for at least 6 months.
- No more than 5 small tumors, each no larger than 3 cm in diameter.
Liver transplantation is out of the question if cancer has entered a blood vessel or spread beyond the liver.
After all, cancer cells remain in the body after the operation.
Thus, surgery cannot eliminate all types of cancer.
If you have severe liver damage (cirrhosis), you do not need a liver transplant.
Your specialist will need to decide if you are OK enough to continue the operation and recovery time.
Liver transplant screening
A transplant should be evaluated to see how well your liver is working and whether transplantation is the best treatment for you.
You will always have these tests on an outpatient basis, but you will need a short hospitalization.
You have blood tests, such as liver function tests.
Your specialist will look at the level of a chemical in your blood called alpha-fetoprotein. If this level is too high, transplantation may not be suitable for you.
You have other tests, such as ultrasounds.
Liver transplantation involves a lot of careful preparation by various health professionals.
You will meet these people during the review.
Use this time to ask as many questions as you want.
This will help you go to the surgery with the feeling that you are very prepared.
If you and your doctor decide to continue with a liver transplant, many tests will be performed for your operation.
This may mean that you go to the hospital a few days before the operation.
Waiting for a liver transplant
To have a liver transplant, you need a liver donor who is very close to you.
Unfortunately, more people need a liver than there is a liver available.
You may have to wait a long time.
During this time, cancer may progress, which may mean that you can no longer transplant.
You may be offered other treatments to reduce this risk.
The goal is to prevent cancer while you wait. This treatment may include:
- Treatment of cancer cell destruction (ablation)
- Chemotherapy directly into the blood vessels that nourish liver cancer and block blood supply (chemoembolization)
When an organ is found, the transplant team will prepare you for surgery.
If a liver from a deceased donor can be used, you should go to the hospital as soon as possible.
Most organs need to be removed from another medical facility and can be stored in as little as eight hours.
If the liver is from a living donor, the time of the procedure can be scheduled so that you and the donor are operated on at the same time.
To perform a liver transplant, the surgeon performs an incident several centimeters long on the right side of the recipient’s abdomen under the ribs.
By carefully cutting the blood vessels and bile ducts of the organ, he removed the cancerous liver from the body.
The surgeon squeezes the blood vessels and ducts to prevent bleeding and bile leakage.
The donor’s liver is then connected to the recipient’s blood vessels and bile ducts.
Liver transplant surgery takes an average of four to eight hours.
Recovery and follow-up after transplant surgery
You can stay in the hospital for one to two weeks or more after a liver transplant.
During this time, doctors will monitor you to make sure your immune system does not reject the new liver.
If your body starts to do this, your doctor may prescribe medication. Your doctor will also prescribe medication to prevent infection after the transplant.
Initially, a follow-up visit to your transplant doctor will take place every week.
During these visits, your doctor will take care of curing and adjusting your medications as needed.
People with this procedure can return to work and their daily routine after being released from the hospital.
About 90 percent of liver transplants still work 1 year after surgery.